One of the joys of living in rented accommodation is that if something breaks it’s not up to us to fix it. For instance, a couple of things have gone wrong recently, and both have involved calling someone out to fix it, at no charge to us. That’s not to say that either couldn’t have been done in-house, either by me or by calling upon the vast skills of various family members, but in some cases it’s just more convenient for someone else to do it for us, especially if we don’t have to pay for it. Even more so because I’m at work during the day and shattered come evening.
The first man to call was the handyman. He’s been before. He knows us. He was called in because we had a draft in our downstairs cloakroom. The rubber seal around the bottom of the window frame had begun to perish, leaving a visible gap where it had cracked, letting cold air through from the outside world. He stripped out the old seal and whacked in a new one. Job done.
Then, yesterday, the plumber came. We’ve had issues with the heating since we moved into the house, in particular with the front bedroom not getting very much heat through the radiator. That being Samuel’s room, it’s actually been quite a concern, so much so that it’s taken us well over a year and a half to get round to doing anything about it. Ahem. Basically, even when the heating had been on for several hours the radiator in that room didn’t get more than luke-warm. And that’s no good at all, even if your name is Luke. I had also discovered that several of the radiators couldn’t be adjusted because their valve controls had seized. So the plumber came to sort it all out.
It turns out that the radiator in Samuel’s room wasn’t heating up because the pipe the other end (i.e. not the valve end) was almost completely clogged with limescale. So even with the valve completely open, there wasn’t actually any hot water getting into the radiator, hence its utter inability to heat the room. It was an issue elsewhere in the house too, so he drained the entire system (which apparently took ages). While he was at it he also replaced all the old valves (apart from the one in the kitchen, which apparently he forgot about) with new ones to give us more control over the heating of individual units. And Samuel followed the plumber around the whole time, inspecting his work at each stage. Once it was done the system was refilled with water and tested. Job done.
Well, almost. I discovered this evening that there is the tiniest of leaks from the radiator in the cloakroom. It’s so small that we hadn’t noticed until now. I only noticed because I happened to be sitting on the loo (sorry, too much information…) and heard a faint hissing noise; the culprit was discovered eventually and we’ve put a cloth down to soak up the water and save the carpet from any lasting damage. I did try ringing the letting agency this evening, but they were out and didn’t have an answering machine, so we’ll have to ring them tomorrow morning and get the plumber out again. Shouldn’t be more than a matter of tightening a nut, but I’d rather they did it than me, just in case I break it – not sure they’d be too happy if I flooded the house out of impatience. Especially as we’ve got an inspection in a week or so…
And all this reminds me of a Flanders and Swann song I came across many years ago: The Gas Man Cometh.